This paper addresses the problem of handoff in a land mobile satellite (LMS) system between adjacent satellites in a low earth orbit (LEO) constellation. In particular, emphasis is placed on the application of soft handoff in a direct sequence code division multiple access (DS-CDMA) LMS system. Soft handoff is explained in terms of terrestrial macroscopic diversity, in which signals transmitted via several independent fading paths are combined to enhance the link quality. This concept is then reconsidered in the context of a LEO LMS system. A two-state Markov channel model is used to simulate the effects of shadowing on the communications path from the mobile to each satellite during handoff. The results of the channel simulation form a platform for discussion regarding soft handoff, highlighting the potential merits of the scheme when applied in a LEO LMS environment.